cebu family fun run

It was still pretty dark when we headed out of the house so Cyd exclaimed: “Are you kidding me? It’s still dark outside.” 

That’s because we are not morning people and it was the first time we were joining a race as a family. Neil joined races several times; I did once before I got pregnant. So this was officially Cyd’s first run.

We arrived at the family fun run 10 minutes before it started and joined the group of runners. Cyd, our determined four-year-old, bounced excitedly, his eyes searching for the trophy he believed awaited him at the finish line. Neil focused on attaching his race bib, a hint of amusement and concern in his expression. I shared his worry, not about the race itself, but about Cyd’s potential disappointment.

The starting gun fired, and we were off. Cyd took off like a shot, his little legs pumping furiously. Neil and I exchanged a knowing look and settled into a comfortable pace beside him. With Cyd in the middle, we told him to slow down and save his energy, but his competitive spirit wouldn’t let him.

Halfway through the 3km course, Cyd’s initial enthusiasm began to fade. He started to lag behind, his steps faltering. I tried running ahead to encourage him. He ran for a bit. Neil then showed his quick pace for motivation. But we could see the disappointment creeping into his eyes as he realized the trophy was slipping out of reach.

Neil, the ever-supportive father, scooped Cyd into his arms, adjusting his hold as he continued to jog. Cyd rested his head on Neil’s shoulder, smiling as he enjoyed a break from running. I snapped pictures of them, cheering them on, then reached out to wipe the sweat from Cyd’s face and hair, my heart aching for him.

As we neared the finish line, Neil put Cyd down and challenged him to run the last few meters. Cyd sprinted, a final burst of energy propelling him forward. We crossed the finish line together, a tangle of sweaty limbs and triumphant smiles. But as Cyd was handed a medal, not the coveted trophy, his face crumpled. “I don’t want the medal,” tears beginning to form in his eyes, “I wanted a trophy.”

To comfort him, we walked away from the crowds, found a quiet spot, and sat down. Neil pulled Cyd onto his lap, holding him close. “It’s okay to be disappointed,” Neil said, his voice gentle. “But you know what? You did an amazing job. You ran so far, and you never gave up.”

Cyd continued to sulk but accepted the biscuits and water we offered. I could see him thinking deeply, processing his emotions. After a few moments, he looked up at us and declared, “I’m going to change the rules. In the next race, the last one to reach the finish line wins the trophy.”

This wasn’t the ending I expected, but Cyd’s determination showed me his unique way of dealing with disappointment. He was truly his own person. This experience was more than just a race; it was a lesson in resilience, a step in his journey of growth. As we walked hand-in-hand towards the donut shop, I couldn’t help but smile. This family fun run was more than a race; it’s a core memory. 

By Issa

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